There is one thing we cannot avoid, uncertainty. It creeps up on us when we least expect it to. As believers, we feel that we should have everything sorted out, and never be a doubting Thomas. Certainty should be our daily bread. But the opposite is true, so many of us feel anxious about what tomorrow will bring.
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Tension exists between what is known and not known. As believers, we might find it even more difficult to adjust to uncertainty than the general population. Our faith hinges on the certainty that God exists, that He lives and breathes in us, that He will come again, and the Bible is His living infallible word on Earth. The tenets of our faith are certain, but I think in reality the journey we call life is nothing short of certain.
Who knows what tomorrow brings, but we know that regardless of tomorrows outcome, God remains ever faithful to those that He calls his sons and daughters. Nevertheless, we might read this in the Bible, hear it preached, believe it and pray for it. But it does not seem to reduce the anxiety that comes when we worry what the next day might bring.
We all feel anxious sometimes, from fear of change, fear of public speaking, walking home alone at night, returning to the workforce and sitting for an exam. All these situations can cause us to become anxious. There is a difference between normal feelings of anxiety that most people experience at times compared to Anxiety Disorder a diagnosable mental health disorder. Anxiety is defined as ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’. If this becomes excessive, disproportionate and immobilising to everyday function, then this might be a diagnosable mental disorder.
In the most part, we experience anxiety as it exists in the gap between God’s truth and our reality. Our daily reality shouts at us for our attention: increasing financial difficulties, relationship issues, family drama, insecure tenancy, job losses. This list is not exhaustive as there are plenty of issues and situations that we face daily that induce anxiety.
In the book of Proverbs which was ahead of modern psychology that states in Proverbs 12:25 ‘Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.’ There is a great deal of evidence that anxiety and depression are closely related with each other and many do not experience the one without the other.
Too much anxiety can become a mental disorder or at least can lead to depression and other complicated illnesses. Neuroscience and psychotherapy realise that many physical illnesses are somatic in nature. This means that as humans when we experience high levels of stress, anxiety, trauma and anger; emotions that are felt for prolonged periods gets stored in our bodies. As they are symbolically held in our bodies, they can manifest in all types of debilitating conditions.
As believers, we are told in Matthew 6 not to worry or be anxious for nothing because our heavenly Father, is more than willing and capable of meeting our needs. However, what He expects from us is to trust in Him. Therefore, might I add that in Matthew 6 the antidote to feelings of anxiety is trust. Jesus is so confident that He states that if you trust, seek and put Him first before all things, that you will no longer have to be anxious for anything. This is further buttressed in Philippians 4:6, where we are told that we should be anxious for nothing and in all things, we should have a heart of gratitude and give thanks.
Therefore, uncertainty plagues man, believers included. However, we have one thing that many do not. We have the promise that God will take care of our needs in accordance with His will, when we obey His word, through trusting and seeking Him.
Littered throughout the scriptures God asks us to cast all our worries, concerns unto Him because He can carry those burdens. He wants to lighten our load and does not want us bogged down with the stresses of life. God’s love and compassion are extended so that we are comforted, sustained, and our hearts are guarded by peace.